This Latin American Country Produces Our Best-Selling Coffee

by Zoe Maiden January 15, 2019 3 min read

This Latin American Country Produces Our Best-Selling Coffee

This Latin American Country Produces Our Best-Selling Coffee

  We have offered a variety of Latin American coffees, but the country that continually becomes a top-seller is Guatemala. Guatemala is one of the world's largest high-quality coffee producers. Their coffee is the perfect balance of bold and sweet, with a pleasant acidity and complex flavor notes. The versatile flavor notes allow the beans to appeal to a wide range of people. 

 

Guatemalan Coffee History & Geography:

Although there are tales of coffee being grown in the region as early as 1747, many people believe the Jesuits were the first to introduce coffee to Guatemala in 1750. Either way, coffee did not become an important crop until the early 1860s. In order to diversify their crops (indigo was the main cash crop prior), the Guatemalan government established the Commission for Coffee Cultivation and Promotion. This delegation was responsible for producing educational materials for coffee farmers along with improved business practices focusing on bean price and quality. To further progress the coffee industry, the Guatemalan government distributed around one million coffee seeds across the country. There are now over 125,000 coffee producers and 277,000 hectares of land planted with coffee. By 1880, 90% of coffee’s exports consisted of coffee.

 

Although the coffee industry flourished and became the backbone of the economy, it was not always butterflies and rainbows. In order to expand their coffee plantations, many indigenous people were deprived of their land. Following the global depression that occurred in 1930, the price of coffee was lowered to stimulate exports. In an effort to improve infrastructure, Guatemalan power was taken over by the United Fruit Company, which was not received positively by the community. By 1960, a civil war took place between the government and UFC/coffee plantation owners due to land reform, poverty, hunger, and racism towards indigenous people. This war technically lasted until 1996, but Guatemala continues to face these same issues today.

Guatemala has ideal coffee growing conditions and the diverse microclimates are the reason such versatile coffees are produced. Due to the abundance of rain, wet-processed coffees are the norm. high levels of humidity often disrupt natural or dry-processed beans. The wet-process is usually preferred by the farmers because it is consistent and highlights the natural acidity of the bean.

 

Guatemalan Tasting Profile:

Because Guatemala has many extremely diverse microclimate regions, the beans harvested have many varying tasting notes. From a full bodied but sweet taste, to complex and acidic, Guatemalan coffee can suit any drinker on the spectrum. Sitting as the highest farm in Guatemala and our personal favorite, Huehuetenango, near the Mexican border, provides beans with a complex vanilla and Carmel like flavor. Coffees from the Atitlan region share a common trait with Costa Rica, having volcanic soil that allows farms to avoid using harmful pesticides, providing a rich chocolate and nutty flavor. The remaining regions lay within the Fraijanes Plateau, which surrounds Guatemala City giving a variety of tastes and varieties waiting to be tried!

 

Our Guatemalan Coffee Selections

 

Our Current Favorite Coffee Farm in Guatemala:

     In 1958, Jorge Vides, the grandfather of the family, founded Finca La Bolsa; a coffee plantation located in La Libertad, Huehuetenango. While being a full-time doctor, his main hobby was the farm. Jorge Vides bought this land, which was then covered in forests, and proceeded to cultivate bourbon and caturra coffee varieties. His humanitarian sense extended beyond coffee production. In 1980, he founded a school that still runs on the farm, which has since been named after him and authorized by Ministry of Education. Four years later, Anacafé called him 'Distinguished Coffee Grower' due to his success in production work.

     Today, Finca La Bolsa is operated by third generation farmers who continue to believe that business relationships with roasters and importers are based on consistent quality and passion for coffee.

 

Quick Facts - Guatemala:

 Description

Fact

Total Coffee Farming Area

940,000 hectares

Number of Coffee Producers

~570,000 (mostly small farms)

Growing Altitude

1,200 - 2,000 meters (above sea level)

Harvesting Season

September - December

Temperature

46 – 75 ℉

Cultivar

Arabica

Coffee Varietals

Typica, Bourbon, Caturra, Castillo, Colombia

 

Zoe Maiden
Zoe Maiden



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Coffee Grinds Explained

We currently offer 4 different coffee grind levels.  Listed below with descriptions.

Whole Bean: Unground coffee for a home grinder.

Coarse: Think sugar in the raw, maybe more coarse, recommended for Chemex Brewer, French Press, Cold Brew

Medium: Slightly coarser than table salt, recommended for Metal Kone filters, Flat bottom brewers including Kalitta, Cloth filters

Fine:  Slightly finer than table salt, recommended for V60 pour overs, Cone filter coffee pots, Moka Pot, Aeropress.

Extra Fine: Like powdered sugar, recommended for Espresso.

If at all possible, we recommend grinding at home. We prefer Baratza coffee grinders and offer several of their models for sale. Click here to shop for one of their brewers.